Author Topic: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado  (Read 7937 times)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4541
Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« on: April 07, 2016, 04:46:59 PM »
We went straight from a foot of snow on the ground to spring, it seems like, and the crabgrass in our yard is coming up strong and green. (The actual grass has yet to make an appearance, although I dutifully applied nitrogen fertilizer last fall.) Apparently I missed the window to apply pre-emergent herbicide.

We have a very small front lawn that I would like to have look nice. We are thinking of selling our house this spring or summer, and our neighbors have put a lot of work into THEIR yard--I feel bad about our nasty yard in our gentrifying neighborhood.

Is there anything I can do to improve our lawn that won't be crazy expensive and that would yield results in weeks, not months? (I suppose ground cover could be an option--suggestions along those lines also welcome.)

We live in the Denver area, so our elevation is not that high, and our front yard is quite sunny, if that matters.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10767
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2016, 05:27:22 PM »
how big of a space are we talking about?

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4541
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2016, 05:37:40 PM »
how big of a space are we talking about?

Hmm, I'm not really good at estimating sizes, but it's a tiny urban yard kinda thing. Maybe a few hundred square feet?

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10767
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2016, 05:44:23 PM »
how big of a space are we talking about?

Hmm, I'm not really good at estimating sizes, but it's a tiny urban yard kinda thing. Maybe a few hundred square feet?

In that case, why not rip it up and put sod down?  I mean, if you really want a lawn and maximize curb appeal.
Better yet, ditch the lawn entirely.

Rezdent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 813
  • Location: Central Texas
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2016, 07:09:04 PM »
Can you dig it up?
I've done this in a really large yard, where I had those horrible things we call "goatheads".  Not sure of their official name, but I would spend several evenings just digging them up, and the grass quickly filled in any blank spots. Once the big dig was done it was easy to pull any late comers. Bonus: I got exercise too :)
Sadly, this doesn't work as well with nutgrass, pulling them just encourages spread, so ymmv.

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7396
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2016, 07:32:36 PM »
I just let whatever wants to grow grow. Except for something that grows too quickly (like certain weeds)--I try to pull those so I don't have to mow as much. Why should I spend time and money to put out chemicals that don't belong there? It doesn't look quite as pretty, but I'm not looking to win any beauty contests or sell anytime soon. Since you're looking to sell, it's probably a good idea to give it some attention though.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8492
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2016, 07:49:49 PM »
It's too late to stop crabgrass for this season if it's sprouted already.  You can mow it every three days to minimize the height and keep it looking semi-okay, but if you want the manicured lawn look you're better off tearing it out and putting in sod, or other landscaping like bark/rocks.  Sorry.

Papa bear

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2016, 08:02:33 PM »
If it's a small yard and you don't want to use chemicals, just hand pull it.  Don't throw it back in the yard, bag it.  Fill back in with new grass seed. Water appropriately.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4541
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2016, 08:52:41 PM »
Thanks for the advice, guys! This is really helpful. Normally we are "if it's green, it's grass" people, but there are two problems: The curb appeal issue/possible sale (maybe it will look better if/when our real grass turns green?), and the crab grass is virtually impervious to our push reel mower. Mr. FP has to sort of hack at it with his trimmer.

Our neighbors sodded their backyard, so I will ask them about their experience with that and may also do the seed issue. (Our grass is not healthy, so I would not trust it to grow in on its own.)

If I seeded grass--either by ripping up the whole yard or by sort of spot-treating where I rip up the crab grass--how long would it take to grow in enough to see? This is all new to me.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8492
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2016, 09:22:05 PM »
If I seeded grass--either by ripping up the whole yard or by sort of spot-treating where I rip up the crab grass--how long would it take to grow in enough to see? This is all new to me.

Depending on the kind of grass, are least two to three weeks to see green.  And it will be fragile for longer than that.

But if you have bad shallow topsoil, no amount of watering or chemical fertilizer is ever really going to turn your lawn lush.  Good grass comes from good soil.

I've had limited success at some properties with spot seeding, if you top dress with compost for the seedlings to root in, and water daily.  Just scattering grass seed on the bare spots has never worked for me.

Papa bear

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2016, 09:22:33 PM »
You're probably looking at a few weeks before you see a decent amount of grass.  You will probably need to water it 3-5 times per week for shorter periods of time. It will be pretty weak for awhile and will need extra care through the year.  It's roots aren't as deep as mature grass so you'll need to water it during a dry summer.

You could just seed and see what comes up but it sounds like you need this to look good quickly. 




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4541
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2016, 03:53:10 PM »
Having thought about it, I can't bring myself to put down grass seed. I don't really want grass and Mr. FP especially doesn't--we'd like to do some kind of xeriscape plant ground cover.

So I'm waiting to see if we hear anything on the job front in the next week or two. I don't want to xeriscape if we're moving, because if I make a hash of it, it will look terrible!

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6436
  • Location: BC
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2016, 05:34:52 PM »
Oh!  I bought micro clover to redo a section, so look at that if you want to renew without grass.

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5299
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2016, 05:19:08 AM »
Having thought about it, I can't bring myself to put down grass seed. I don't really want grass and Mr. FP especially doesn't--we'd like to do some kind of xeriscape plant ground cover.

So I'm waiting to see if we hear anything on the job front in the next week or two. I don't want to xeriscape if we're moving, because if I make a hash of it, it will look terrible!

Probably a good choice. Grass takes several weeks just to see if you have killed it all - in my experience it takes an entire season to 'look good'.

RosieTR

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 396
  • Location: Northern CO
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2016, 10:36:10 PM »
Fellow CO front range person here. In your shoes, I would check going rates for regular landscape help (the mow/trim type, not design). If the job is a yes and you must move, hire them to fix it. They will chemical it and all that but it will probably look reasonably decent if you need the curb appeal.

If you are not moving, spend time this summer touring xeriscape gardens and plant nurseries. Most of the cities have these, and googling terms like "Colorado water-wise" or "Denver xeriscape garden" will get you started. Community buildings have these too. Then in fall, rent a sod cutter and pull the existing grass. Plant perennials, which are cheaper in fall, set up mulch and water systems if needed, etc. You'll get the benefit of winter and spring moisture, nursery discounts, and won't be planting in very hot weather (unless it's one of those October in the 80s days!)

If you want some ideas for great ground covers, I can personally recommend lamb's ear and oregano. These will spread. And spread. We have clay soil (a few areas on the front range have sand but clay is more common in this region) and these are fighting it out in our sunny locations, where I xeriscaped after the 2002 drought. The renters failed to kill these so they must be fairly robust....nearly weeds.
For partial shade we are trying vinca, sometimes called periwinkle. I see that around in lots of shadier places so hoping it takes off!

Other especially good plants I found that are not ground covers: lavendar, nearly wild rose, currants (bonus: fruit!), linden tree, tulips, juniper (bush can be used as taller ground cover).

Finally, keep in mind this is naturally a grassland so grass likes it here. You will be fighting it in perpetuity, though if you have bindweed then the grass will seem like no big deal in comparison. And, do not plant aspen. They die quickly at this altitude but send up suckers as a forever present. Female ash trees are also gifts that unhappily keep on giving.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4541
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2016, 10:56:25 PM »
Thanks for the fall tip, RosieTR! It's nice to have a plan. If we stay, fall sounds great :-).

Would I just occasionally go in and pull out grass? What does "fighting" grass look like?

MasterStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2170
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2016, 02:10:03 PM »
Spring is not a good time to plant new grass. It won't have time to develop strong, deep roots before the heat of summer sets in. And you'll be left watering it constantly. As other have suggested, you can hand pull the weeds. If you are still in the house in the fall, that's the best time to throw down some grass seed and top dress and water appropriately. The best defense against weeds is a thick lawn. Or no lawn ( :

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3057
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2016, 04:55:19 AM »
You could carefully spot-Roundup the crabgrass plants. Screwing this up will obviously make the problem worse, but with weeds that I just can't pull and keep coming back I've been able to do it (normally I just use Roundup for crabgrass in the sidewalk interstitial spaces that can't be pulled).

MsGuided

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1056
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2016, 05:48:27 PM »
I will second RosieTR's recommendation for lamb's ear. It spreads, doesn't need water, and thrives on neglect here in CO.  I haven't tried oregano, though.  RosieTR is the oregano you mentioned a special kind?  Or just the common herb? I'd love to try that.

With lavender, I have had mixed results.  I bought 3 varieties of lavender, marked them for comparison, and only one returned after a harsh winter. But, don't you know, the markers disappeared! But the surviving lavender has been around in our extremely sunny and exposed front yard for at least 4 years. Low maintenance and heavenly smelling. Just wish I knew which variety it is!

Cpa Cat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1594
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2016, 06:15:40 PM »
There are a couple of post-emergent crabgrass killers out there. It's most effective when used on young crabgrass.

You might call your county extension and find out if there's one that they recommend for your area.

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5299
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Already have crabgrass--any hope? (Colorado
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2016, 04:52:48 AM »
You could carefully spot-Roundup the crabgrass plants. Screwing this up will obviously make the problem worse, but with weeds that I just can't pull and keep coming back I've been able to do it (normally I just use Roundup for crabgrass in the sidewalk interstitial spaces that can't be pulled).

My neighbors have an interesting story regarding my first residential use of Roundup...  Poor guys had just laid the sod too...